15 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 46 Cultural Shaping Reduces Extrapolation
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
Here is the trick. The way science fiction writers use cultural shaping to reduce the amount of technological extrapolation they have to do, is this. They take direct elements from our modern culture, the shaped culture, and extrapolated technology and put those elements specifically into their science fiction. For example, no one really predicted the form of computer technology we would have today--those who had an inkling could not imagine iPads, iPhones, laptops, GPS, cell phones, or the interfaces we use today. The best they could do is to imagine some kind of communication device. The worst extrapolators (some of the best science fiction authors) didn't imagine a world with anything better than slide rules, but what they did was take the slide rule into space. The extrapolated future was space and space travel. They weren't even looking 100 years into the future, but they didn't get close. What they did was to focus on the major parts of technology they could extrapolate and use current technology for the rest. I'd like you to set a higher bar, but even if you don't, if you use the current technology, cultural shaping, and extrapolation, you will write awesome science fiction. I'll give you examples of each tomorrow.
All the technology was extrapolated from the basis of the modern era, but with some simple deviations. I'll explain those tomorrow.
Also remember, I'm trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: